Harry Potter Goes to Hollywood

A favourite summer activity among Angelenos are the outdoor concerts held at the Hollywood Bowl. World travellers who find themselves in Los Angeles should definitely make an effort to attend a concert there as this is one of the few venues that allows outside food and drinks! Huzzah!

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Packed House at the Hollywood Bowl
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Hollywood sign

During my visit home, as luck would have it, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was playing at the Bowl with musical accompaniment by the L.A. Philharmonic, who performed the ENTIRE score from the film while it played. So the magical music that played during the movie was actually coming from a live orchestra. I loved it!

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EXPECTO PATRONUUUM!
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Close-up of the LA Philharmonic

It was a packed night so the body heat made it a bit warm on an already hot day so be sure to pack some cold drinks if you’re there on a summer night. Next time I think I might treat myself to a boxed seat closer to the stage. Check out the Hollywood Bowl’s calendar of events here. Upcoming concerts include Mama Mia and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Scum & Villainy Cantina

Time to rock out with your blasters out at this Star Wars pop-up bar, located just across the street from Beetle House on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. While Beetle House played mod and emo music to complement the goth vibes, Scum & Villainy Cantina is full of jukebox jives and, yes, they played the infamous Mos Eisley cantina song.

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Reservations are required where you present your ticket at the entrance. You can purchase a $50 ticket which includes two drink tokens and Star Wars swag (a pint glass and patch), or a $25 ticket which includes only the swag. T-shirts are also sold for an additional $15.  

I had a great time and you really do feel transported to a cantina on Tatooine. There are small bites and drinks, but I’m a little disappointed that there were only three signature cocktails. I’m actually totally bummed at the lack of creativity that I decided to come up with an imaginary list of my own that should be used:

  • Tatooine Sunrise
  • Rogue Jyn Fizz
  • Tauntaun Collins
  • Mandalorian Mule
  • Darth & Stormy
  • Sith on the Beach

But alas, I only had three cocktails to choose from. I opted for the Wretched Blue Milk which was a tropical rum-based drink and quite delicious. I spotted an older Han and Leia lounging at a booth (super cute!), and the ladies restrooms had graffiti like “It’s a Trap”, “Han Shot First”, and the symbol of the Rebel Alliance.

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In a perfect world, Han and Leia got to grow old together 😦

So if you’re a Star Wars fan and happen to be in Los Angeles, make a reservation and visit the Cantina! Cosplay is encouraged, of course!

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Beetle House L.A.

The gothic and eccentric world of Tim Burton comes to life through food and drinks at Beetle House L.A., a pop-up located in Hollywood. Beetle House comes to L.A. after the highly successful NYC location where it was born in June 2016.

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While the L.A. pop-up is full of artwork and characters inspired by Tim Burton conceptions and films, Beetle House creator, Zach Neil wanted to create a home for the “freaks, weirdos and grown up goth kids of the city.” The Beetle House slogan, in fact, is “It’s Halloween all year long.”

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That is indeed the vibe you get once you’re inside the bar. Artwork covers the walls, Tim Burton characters walk around for pictures, and carnival-like performers make their way around the bar. I saw a woman hammer a nail into her nose. Whhhhaaaa?!?!

The entrance to the restaurant is the open-mouthed sandworm from Beetlejuice. Totally cool! While I didn’t get to eat there, I did sample the drink menu. Expensive (obviously because it’s L.A.) but delicious. No reservations are required for the bar, but if you wanted to eat at the restaurant, reservations well in advance are a must. Having said that, if you are early enough, it doesn’t hurt to try asking the hostess if there’s any availability as last-minute cancellations occur. The menu itself is prix fixe with three different levels to choose from so be prepared to drop some cash for a full meal.

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It had a fun vibe especially if you are into Tim Burton movies. The music is also strategically chosen. There was music from The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Cure, and even the tequila song à la Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. So if you happen to be walking among the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, it’s definitely worth a visit.

“The idea was simple, create a space where people who love Halloween, horror films, Gothic, dark and moody music can gather for a meal and drinks. Sports bars are great if you are into sports, but what about the rest of us? Imagine a place with the same enthusiasm as a big time sports bar but instead everyone is celebrating, films, music and art. That is the type of place I want to create.” – Zach Neil